Adventures of a lifetime

8 Minute Read

10 offbeat experiences that will stick in your memory

As many as [i] 94% of Australians change the way they handle money when they travel: 45% will try to limit ATM cash withdrawals, while 44% cut back cash spending to avoid visiting money changers. With balances available in ten different currencies, the HSBC Everyday Global Account takes away the pain of overseas transaction fees, opening up a world free from financial borders. Here are ten amazing travel experiences every adventurer should have – money belt strictly not required.

Roam the Remarkables

Framed by the jagged Remarkables mountain range, snuggled on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown is pure New Zealand. Immerse in the landscape on hikes that run from easy four-hour strolls to advanced multi-day adventures. Or ride the Skyline Gondola up 450m Bob’s Peak and let gravity guide you down: more than 30 clearly marked mountain bike trails offer rides at grades from an easy 2 to an extreme 6.

Photograph Polar Bears

In October and November, Canada’s Hudson Bay is the best place in the world to see polar bears in their natural habitat: perhaps as many as 1,000 pass through en route from the tundra to their winter hunting territory. Whether you’re catching a tiny plane to an eco-lodge in the depths of the wilderness, or joining a tundra buggy tour from Churchill, memorable snapshots come close to guaranteed.

Worship at the Altar of Gin

Over the past few years, sleepy Singapore has grown one of the world’s best bar scenes. The three-storey gin tower in Atlas houses more than 1,000 bottles from as far afield as Bolivia and Wales. At Native, ingredients span the gamut from foraged Singapore ants to Sri Lankan arrack. Manhattan, with its “rickhouse” of barreled cocktails, was Australasia’s #1 bar on the prestigious 2017 World’s 50 Best Bars list.

Feast in Foodie Barcelona

Go beyond Gaudi in Catalonia’s capital. Discover the perfect ham at the Jamón Experience; sip homemade vermouth at a classic vermutería, or Catalan wine at a neighbourhood bodega. Savour deconstructed tapas at Albert and Ferran Adrià’s Tickets (book ahead), a paella lunch at the historic 7 Portes restaurant, or simply a sparkling Cava on the waterfront.

Brave the Great Glass Bridge

Zhangjiajie’s otherworldly pinnacles and towers helped inspire the floating mountains in director James Cameron’s blockbuster Avatar. Glide up a sheer rock face in the 326m outdoor elevator – the world’s highest. Put your pulse through its paces on the 430m glass bridge that soars over a vertiginous canyon. Float over surreal land formations in a cable car or escape the crowds on serene hiking trails. Like China itself, Zhangjiajie is what you make it.

Explore the New East End

Head north from Shoreditch and Hoxton into Dalston to discover London’s hip, multicultural East End. Soak up the atmosphere at 130-year-old Ridley Road Market; swing by Mangal 1 for Turkish kebabs seared on a traditional grill, or catch cult cinema at Rio or off West End theatre at Arcola. End the night with cocktails at Untitled, smooth jazz at the Dalston Jazz Bar, or all-night snooker with local hipsters in Efes.

Freedive with Whale Sharks

Between mid-March and mid-September, 12-metre whale sharks, the world’s biggest fish, frequent Western Australia’s Ningaloo Reef. Thanks to spotter planes that head out daily, sightings are close to guaranteed – with many operators offering free repeat trips if you miss out. Scuba is banned, so pack your freedive fins or plan a freediving course to take your snorkel skills to the next level.

Raft the Grand Canyon

See the Grand Canyon from new angles on a rafting adventure down the Colorado River, which has run through this mighty rock formation for six million years. For maximum thrills, opt for an oar and paddle trip – not a motorised raft – and spend from six to 18 days floating through a landscape sculpted to perfection by geological time. Patches of white water will set adrenaline racing, as nights on the tranquil river bank soothe the soul.

Create the Perfect Bespoke Suit

Despite what the Tsim Sha Tsui tailor touts claim, Hong Kong is no longer the home of the cheap suit. Yet fantastic tailoring for men and women still exists, amid a fabric choice that’s second to none, and quality and prices that beat Australia hands down. Try Linva Tailor for cheongsam and elegant women’s tailoring, or splurge at A Man Hing Cheong, Central’s answer to London’s Savile Row.

Catch a Fire Festival

Look beyond Niseko next New Year, and head to Nozawa Onsen for skiing, hot springs and one of Japan’s big three fire festivals. Held on 15 January each year – but with rituals around the big day itself – it’s an evening of sake-fuelled crazy as the 42-year-old men of the village do battle with 25-year-old villagers to set fire to a massive tower of wood.

 [i] YouGov Galaxy Research p.6

This article was first published as a commercial feature on ( and was created by BBC StoryWorks, BBC Advertising’s commercial content division, on behalf of HSBC Bank Australia Limited.